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December 2022 Issue


Merry Christmas!
In this issue:
  • LHS Annual Membership Meeting, January 15
  • Washington Saengerbund Advent Concert, December 4
  • Family & Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery Win Loudoun History Award
  • Letters from Lovettsville: The Life of Dr. J.J. Henshaw
  • Photos of German Settlement class
  • Podcast Explores 1940 Plane Crash
  • Nearby Events of Interest
  • Archive of back issues

Save the date!

Annual Membership Meeting
of the Lovettsville Historical Society

Sunday, January 15, at 2:00 p.m.

The Lovettsville Historical Society will hold its 2023 Annual Membership Meeting at 2:00 on Sunday, December 15. Location to be determined, will either be at St. James United Church of Christ, or at the Lovettsville Museum.  This will be our first Annual Meeting since 2019, before the pandemic. The meeting is open to all members and prospective members.

The meeting will feature a report on planned activities for 2023, including developments regarding the planned expansion of the Museum building. We will also review the recent years' activities, and some of our new acquisitions. Elections for the 2023 Board of Directors will be held. Voting is restricted to paid-up members, so if you are not a member, or if your membership has lapsed, we urged you to join, or renew, today.

Watch for details in our January newsletter.

Above: The Washington Saengerbund's Spring 2022 Concert in Middleburg 

Washington Saengerbund Advent Concert

Sunday, December 4, at 4:00 p.m.
New Jerusalem Lutheran Church

12942 Lutheran Church Road, Lovettsville VA

The Washington Saengerbund, founded in 1851, will present an Advent Concert on Sunday, December 4th, at the historic New Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Lovettsville, The concert is co-sponsored by New Jerusalem Church and the Lovettsville Historical Society.

Experience the spirit of the season with music and carols in German and English, in the historic sanctuary of one of the oldest congregations of the German Settlement.

Above from left:  Edward Spannaus, Claudette Bard, Ron Campbell, James Hershman (partially obscured), and Howard Gilbert Timbers.  Hershman, the Chair of the Thomas Balch Library Advisory Commission, presents award to the founders of the Family & Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery.
Balch Library Presents Loudoun History Award
to Family & Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery

On November 6, the Thomas Balch Library Advisory Commissioners presented the Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Annual Loudoun History Awards. This event honors individuals who have made significant contributions to preserving Loudoun’s past through collection of county documents and memorabilia, preservation of historic landmarks, visual arts, writing, and long-time commitment to local history organizations.

Among the recipients were the Family & Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery, a project initiated by the Lovettsville Historical Society in early 2021 to promote the protection and preservation of Mount Sinai Cemetery, an abandoned African-American cemetery located a few miles southwest of the town of Lovettsville.  The founders of the Family & Friends group are Claudette Bard, Ron Campbell, Howard Timbers, and Edward Spannaus. The group was honored "for their many contributions to the conservation and documentation of African American cemeteries in Lovettsville and preserving Loudoun County history." 

In accepting the award, Claudette Bard described the background of the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church and how it was established in the 1880s, with the first burial in 1887. The congregation was disbanded in the 1920s as many of its members moved away, but the last known burial wasn't until 1955. She mentioned two notable burials: Pvt. Samuel Timbers, who served in the 29th U.S. Colored Infantry in the Civil War, and Henry Howard, a Lovettsville delegate to the famous 1883 "Colored Mass Meeting" [now the subject of an exhibit at the Balch Library].

Gilbert Timbers spoke passionately about family members buried at Mount Sinai, and many others who were raised in the Mount Sinai Church and school. In addition to Pvt. Timbers, he recalled a younger sister who died when she was only seven days old.  Timbers told the audience -- which included Leesburg and Loudoun County officials -- that he is determined to find out where his sister is buried, and to see that all those buried there are accorded the dignity and respect they deserve.

The other History Award recipient in 2021 was Michael Napper, for his contributions to Loudoun County Black history and Loudoun history in general.  The 2022 awardees were Susan Pemberton Webber for her support of Balch Library over the years, and Charles Johnston for his preservation and documentation of the history of Leesburg.

History Feature:

Letters from Lovettsville:

The Life of Dr. John James Henshaw

By Doria R. Owen

The shoe box marked “Letters” had been silently waiting atop a stack of forgotten boxes for over ten years. Once opened, the story they tell is much older than that. The shoe box contains correspondence between Dr. John James Henshaw and concerned citizens, patients, and friends during the Civil War and its aftermath.

 One of those close friends became my husband’s second great-grandmother. Dr. Henshaw lived during a time when his town, his state, and his country were bitterly divided. In letters addressed to “My Friend,” he laments the multitude of lives sacrificed at Gettysburg, and he mourns the recent death of President Abraham Lincoln.

Many of the tattered envelopes were addressed to Dr. J.J. Henshaw, Lovettsville” -- a town I was not familiar with.....

Read More
Glimpses of The German Settlement
field class
     Rich Gillespie and Mike Zapf led a four-session course on "Where We Live: Lovettsville and the German Settlement," during October. Each class featured a field trip to significant locations in the area of the German Settlement.  Pictured above: (1) In the field at the Peter Compher farmhouse, —a typical early German farmhouse, near Hoysville; (2) General Devin’s headquarters at Linden Hall in the final months of the Civil War; (3) Mike Zapf talks about  the 1765 German Bible which is held by the  New Jerusalem Lutheran Church; (4) German-style brick nogging discovered Back Street Brews coffee house, and (5) Rich Gillespie discusses the Peter Compher farmhouse.
     With the strong response to this class series, the Lovettsville Historical Society is planning on offering it again in 2023.

1940 Lovettsville plane crash now featured on podcast with John Flannery

Lovettsville's John Flannery, who gave a presentation on the 1940 Lovettsville plane crash to the Lovettsville Historical Society in 2017, has sent us the following message about his new podcast, reflecting additional research on the 1940 local disaster with a national impact: "I researched a 1941 plane crash in Lovettsville VA killing a US Senator, now part of RACHEL MADDOW’s 1st ULTRA podcast diving into the darkness behind that crash. I was honored to say what locals remembered. Listen to MADDOW’s fascinating

Episode Summary provided by MSNBC:

It started with a plane crash. The tragic, mysterious crash of a commercial airliner in the summer of 1940 left a scene of devastation in rural Virginia -- and a series of unanswered questions. The cause of the crash was unclear. Among the dozens of people killed was a sitting U.S. senator. His presence on the flight and the strange circumstances surrounding the crash would end up revealing threats to American democracy itself. 

Recordings of past lectures now online. 
Video and audio recordings of many of our past lectures have been posted on our website.
View and listen to previous lectures here.

Nearby events of interest:


Dec. 1 – 31. Thomas Balch Library Mercer Room Exhibit: “Black Resistance: Delegates of the 1883 Mass Meeting.” First reported in the May 17, 1883 edition of The Mirror, the “1883 Mass Meeting” resulted in seventeen delegates from Loudoun’s black communities petitioning Judge James B. McCabe for civil rights guaranteed by the 14th and 15th Amendments. The exhibit showcases how these men – political, economic, educational, and spiritual leaders – resisted Jim Crow conditions imposed on them by advocating for their civil rights, forming supportive communities, and inspiring future generations of Loudoun leaders. Local historian Donna Bohanon incorporates concepts from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s theme “Black Resistance” to explore the unique history of Loudoun’s black communities as represented by the seventeen men. (Two men from Lovettsville, Joseph Rivers and Henry Howard were among the delegates; Howard is buried in Mount Sinai Cemetery.) The exhibit will be on display through December 30. It can be viewed during the library’s operating hours: Monday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday from 2 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Please note, the library is closed for lunch, from 12 to 1 p.m., on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Thomas Balch Library, 208 W Market St., Leesburg. Call 703-737-7195 or email for more information.


Fri., Dec. 2, at 12:00 noon -- “Mutiny at Sea: Death and Destruction on USS Somers.” (in-person and virtual). Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center. The brig USS Somers was built in 1842 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and almost immediately became known as a ‘hard luck ship.’ During its second voyage, captained by Commander Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, there was an attempted mutiny. The ringleader, Midshipman Philip Spencer, and two others were found guilty. Even though the midshipman’s father was Secretary of War John Spencer, young Spencer and his cohorts were hanged from the yardarm of Somers. This incident created quite a sensation – Herman Melville based part of his novel Billy Budd on this mutiny. When USS Somers was serving off Vera Cruz in 1848 during the Mexican War, the ship capsized during a fierce storm. Raphael Semmes and his cabin mate, John Winslow, both survived. Fourteen years later, they would meet again as antagonists off Cherbourg, France. This lecture is livestreamed and free to watch online. Register to Attend Virtually.

Sat., Dec. 3, at 6:15 p.m. -- Lovettsville Lantern Parade. Make this German custom part of your family's holiday tradition! Meet at the Lovettsville Community Center with your own lantern and then walk-through town to the Town Square for WintertainmentFest (refreshments, a community sing-along, and the tree lighting). Or meet at the Community Center at 5:15 for a lantern-making workshop; $10 fee. Sponsored by the Town of Lovettsville and the Lovettsville Community Center. Please call 540-822-5284 or 540-822-5788 for more information. Location: Lovettsville Community Center.

Fri., Dec. 9, at 6:00 p.m. -- Culture & Cocktails: National Road in Maryland. Quench your thirst for knowledge with the Washington County Historical Society! Built between 1811 and 1834, the National Road was the first major federally funded highway in the United States. It crossed Washington County’s rivers and streams at several key points, allowing for the transportation of local goods to and from Baltimore and points West. On Friday, December 9, join us in welcoming Dr. Bob Savitt for an exploration into the history of the National Road in Maryland! Tickets $5 - $15. Miller House Museum, 135 W. Washington St., Hagerstown, MD 21740. Website. 301-797-8782.

Sat., Dec. 10 – Frederick County Museums by Candlelight. Once a year, Frederick County’s numerous historic sites and museums provide visitors with a living reminder of this area's remarkable past. During Museums by Candlelight, special programming and hands-on fun will delight visitors of all ages, and special children's activities are featured at most locations. This is a FREE self-guided event. Visit many locations, or just a few, in any order. Enjoy period demonstrations, living history vignettes, hands-on crafts, refreshments, tours, music, holiday decorations and historic settings by candlelight as night falls. For more information, go here or call 301-600-4047.

Sat., Dec. 10, at 2:30 p.m. -- “The Upper Potomac in the Civil War:” A Tour of Garnet Jex Paintings, sponsored by the Harpers Ferry Civil War Round Table and the Shepherdstown Historical Society. Garnet Jex (1895-1979) was an American artist and historian who lived and worked in Washington, DC, nearly his whole life. He was highly renowned for his landscape paintings of the Potomac River and the C&O Canal.  Jex’s Civil War series, owned by the Sharpsburg Historical Society, have not been displayed publicly since 2012, when they were exhibited as part of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. Meet at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 209 West Main Street, Sharpsburg, MD. There will be a short lecture at the start of the program about Jex and the paintings. The event is free and open to the public.  Parking is available near the church on Main Street. The program will be in the community building at the rear of the church.  Reserve your place by email to

Sun., Dec. 11, at 12 noon to 6:00 p.m. -- Hillsboro Homes Walking Tour: A guided walking tour of five historic properties along Hillsboro’s Main Street decorated for the holiday season. Live performances along the tour route. Tours leave The Old Stone School every 20 minutes starting at noon. Tickets are limited. For ticket information go here. The tours are being organized by the Hillsboro Preservation Foundation and members of the community in conjunction with the weekend-long Hillsboro Christmas Market, which will be open Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 11 from 1 to 5 p.m. and will feature a variety of local vendors.

Sun., Dec. 11, at 2:00 p.m. -- Friends of Thomas Balch Library Annual Meeting. Friends of the Thomas Balch Library will hold its 26th Annual Meeting and Election of Officers on Sunday, 11 December, at Thomas Balch Library beginning at 2 PM. This year’s program will be “Oral History Series: Interview with Wynne Saffer” presented by Patty Renner-Rogers, Sarah Huntington, and Rich Gillespie. (Snow date Sunday, 8 January 2023) Thomas Balch Library, 208 W. Market Street, Leesburg, VA 703-737-7195.

Tues., Dec. 13, at 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM -- Virtual Museum Tour Series: American Museum of Natural History (Online). From its iconic blue whale and Tyrannosaurus Rex to its collection of dazzling diamonds, the American Museum of Natural History has become one of the leaders in scientific research, education and exhibitions. Learn about its founding as Marisa Horowitz-Jaffe offers you a virtual tour of its building and some of its more than 35 million specimens. Horowitz-Jaffe has been teaching, studying and living ancient history for over 25 years with degrees in Egyptology, Roman Archaeology and Art and Museum Education. Use this link to participate. The link will become active beginning at the start time listed for this program. Meeting ID: 788 157 6405. Passcode: 028182. Sponsored by Loudoun County Public Library.

Thurs., Dec. 15, at 6:30 p.m. -- Historians on Tap: Hoppy Holidays. The Historians on Tap will be spreading the Christmas spirit with a selection of entertaining stories of Christmases past. Grab a cup of cheer and join us - Ugly sweaters are encouraged! This event is free and open to the public. 21+ please. Lost Barrel Brewing, 36138 John Mosby Highway, Middleburg, Virginia.

Thurs., Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. -- “All My Bright Hopes of the Future are Blasted: Dangerfield Newby’s Fight for Freedom.” The Hagerstown Civil War Round Table will be featuring a talk by Jon-Erik Gilot.  Dangerfield Newby, (ca. 1820-1859) a free mulatto, was the first of John Brown’s raiders killed during the attack on Harpers Ferry on October 16, 1859. He was the eldest child of Henry Newby and a slave, Elsey. In 1858, Henry Newby moved with Elsey and their children, including Dangerfield, to Bridgeport, Ohio, and freed them. Dangerfield Newby tried to buy his own wife, Harriet, and their children, who were enslaved in Prince William County, Virginia, but failed. He joined John Brown’s raiders, hoping that a successful attack on Harpers Ferry would somehow free them. Newby killed two residents before he was shot and killed near the U.S. Arsenal. The event is at Homewood Suites, 1650 Pullman Lane, Hagerstown. Optional dinner at 6:30 pm, open to non-members as well as members ($30, reservations required by December 8) and the talk at 7:30 pm is $5 for non-members, both payable at the meeting. For more information visit, search for: Hagerstown Civil War Round Table, email, or call Dennis Graham at 240 625 4216.

Sat., Dec. 17, at 2:00 p.m. -- Christmas and the Civil War. Join us at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in the Delaplaine Randall Conference Room as Museum Docent Brad Stone details the history behind the celebration of Christmas during the Civil War. The Civil War shaped the way we celebrate the holiday season in the United States in surprising ways. One of the most surprising is the depiction of Santa Claus, as Civil War era illustrator Thomas Nast toyed with images of the jolly elf during the conflict that evolved into the Santa we know today in the United States. The presentation is included with admission to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and FREE for NMCWM members. 48 East Patrick Street, Frederick, MD 21701. For more information, visit website or call 301-695-1864.

Thurs., Dec. 29, at 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. -- Virtual Museum Tour Series: Louvre (Online). The Louvre is a Parisian historic landmark and one of the world's most visited museums. Art historian Marisa Horowitz-Jaffe gives you a virtual look inside its most celebrated treasures and talks about the fascinating architectural history of the pre-museum building. Horowitz-Jaffe has been teaching, studying and living ancient history for over 25 years with degrees in Egyptology, Roman Archaeology and Art and Museum Education. Use this link to participate. The link will become active beginning at the start time listed for this program. Meeting ID: 788 157 6405. Passcode: 028182. Sponsored by Loudoun County Public Library.

Fri., Dec. 30, at 12:00 noon -- Livestreamed Civil War Lecture: Sinking of USS Monitor. Join us as author and historian John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center, concludes the year with a presentation on the remaining days of USS Monitor. Viewers are welcome to send comments or questions to John through the Chat and Q&A boxes, and he will answer following the lecture. This lecture is free to watch and you do not need a Zoom account to participate. After you have completed your registration, you will receive a confirmation email that will include the link to use on the day of the lecture. Be sure to save it! Advance registration is required. For additional assistance, questions or support, please contact



Lovettsville: The German Settlement has been reprinted, and is now once again available to be ordered online, or to be purchased at the Lovettsville Museum. 

Volunteers needed!

Put your love of history and your talents to work for the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum. Part-time volunteers are sought to help with:

  • Social media
  • Museum guides and docents (we will train you)
  • Scanning documents into our digital data-base;
  • and lots of other things.

Contact us at

Visit the Lovettsville Museum

We are open to visitors on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., or by appointment. Call 540-822-9194, or write to:
Explore Our Website
Membership Information
About Us
Our Mission:
The mission of the Lovettsville Historical Society is to foster a sense of place and community by preserving, protecting, and educating about the history and heritage of Lovettsville and the  German Settlement.  

   We achieve this by:
    1.  Operating, maintaining, and expanding the Lovettsville Museum in order to acquire, display, and preserve artifacts, documents, and records which relate to our local history;
    2.  Maintaining and operating a physical and online research library for use by historians, genealogists, and the public;
    3.  Educating the public about Lovettsville area history through programs, printed and online resource materials, and events.
Members and volunteers needed

The success of our mission relies heavily upon our membership, which provides the needed resources and also committed volunteers who share our passion for local history. Please encourage your friends, family, and others to join the Lovettsville Historical Society (LHS), or renew their annual membership, to ensure our continued success in preserving and promoting our local heritage.

There are many opportunities for members and others to participate in supporting the Lovettsville Historical Society and also meet others who share in our passion for preserving and promoting our local history. This includes volunteering to help with the museum, fundraising, organizing events, website and social media, and publicizing our activities.  We enjoy hosting special presentations for groups such as Scouts, school classes and tourists. Lastly, the donations of local historical artifacts such as family documents and pictures (or digital scans thereof), ensure that we can continue our efforts to expand our presentation of local genealogical information.

The Lovettsville Historical Society, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions and membership dues are tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code Section 170.  The Society has been deemed to be exempt from registration under the Commonwealth of Virginia's charitable solicitation law.
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 Archive of Back Issues
 In case you missed any past issues of our monthly newsletter, here are links to our recent Back Issues, for your reading enjoyment.

November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022

December 2021
November 2021

October 2021 
September 2021
August 2021
July  2021

June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021

December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020

April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020

December 2019
November 2019 issue
October 2019 issue

September 2019
August 2019
July 2019 October 2018 
September 2018 
August 2018 
July 2018 
June 2018 
May 2018 
April 2018 
March 2018 
February 2018 
January 2018 

December 2017 
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017

If any of the above links don't work correctly, please let us know by email at
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The Lovettsville History Magazine: A monthly newsletter
Published by the Lovettsville Historical Society, Inc.
Editor: Edward Spannaus
Website Manager: Clare Matheny 
Copyright © 2022 Lovettsville Historical Society Inc., All rights reserved.

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